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A Texas Toll Road Struggling to Induce Demand

Texas 130 has failed to live up to its revenue potential, leaving the private company that operates the road in junk bond status.
November 18, 2015, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Katherine Blunt takes a deep dive in the revenue challenges facing SH 130 Concession Co., the private operator of the Texas 130 toll road.

According to Blunt, the company "hasn’t been able to shake the junk-bond rating Moody’s Investment Services assigned it two years ago because traffic counts on its sections have consistently failed to meet projections." Specifically, "Last year, traffic and revenue fell nearly 70 percent below the company’s original forecast, according to the ratings agency."

The article notes that traffic and revenue have been increasing slightly for several years, but not in enough quantity to rescue the company from its junk bond rating.

Blunt goes on to closely examine the toll road's shortcomings—in erms of its ability to attract the traffic necessary to make ends meet. Speaking of making ends meet, representatives from SH 130 Concession Co. blame a lack of "direct connectors" for the sluggish traffic levels. Blunt provides more context for how the road came into existence:

"TxDOT planned Texas 130 to relieve congestion between San Antonio and Austin on Interstate 35, a highway strained by population growth and cross-border trade. The department completed part of the road by 2006, but it didn’t have enough funding to build south of Mustang Ridge."

As for a more heavily travelled future for the toll road, the desired connector roads are still distant spots on the planning horizon:

"The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has discussed the possibility of building a connector between I-35 and Texas 130 to makes the toll road more accessible from San Antonio. But City Councilman Ray Lopez, chairman of the MPO, said that project will likely take a back seat to other priorities in the area."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, October 23, 2015 in San Antonio Express News
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